Fans of The Real Housewives of New York City might expect a night out on the town with Sonja Morgan to be one they'd absolutely never forget. We're talking about an evening so fun and adventure-filled, you might even lose a tooth — or a leg.
Well, the RHONY renaissance woman's current run in Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man is probably your best chance to spend a Saturday night with Sonja, and believe us, it won't disappoint. The Daily Dish caught one of Sonja's October 8 performances in the Off-Broadway comedy, which she is starring in now through October 22 at the 777 Theatre in New York, and it's filled with all of the girl talk, bawdy humor, and sexiness we have come to know and love from Sonja over the years.
But when a meek, bespectacled woman clad in a muted ensemble of a gray buttoned-up blouse, brown sweater vest, black pencil skirt, and (gasp!) black clogs comes onto the stage at the start of Sex Tips, you might be thinking you read your program wrong. Who is this timid woman, and where is the Sexy Sonja we've always seen on RHONY?
We see another side of Sonja in Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man. Photo: Allison Stock
That shrinking violet is in fact Sonja, and she's really showing off her acting chops, which we've already seen a little bit of earlier this year during her appearance on Difficult People with Luann de Lesseps. In this play, Sonja plays Robyn, a bashful and bookish moderator of the local university's Rendezvous with Alternative Authors of the Modern Era event, or RAAME (pronounced "ram me" for short, and yes, you should be comfortable with double entendres if you come to see this show). Since it's the first time Robyn is hosting an event like this, she's expecting to welcome a fictionalized version of Dan Anderson (Grant MacDermott), the co-author of the book Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man, to read a few passages followed by an intellectual discussion.
But when Dan saunters onto the stage with colorful lights flashing and Lady Gaga's "Applause" blaring, which is the handiwork of hunky and handsome stage assistant Stefan (Michael Milton), it's clear that this is going to be a very different kind of RAAME for Robyn and the audience. Dan completely takes command of the event and proposes that he lead an interactive show, complete with sound effects and jazz hands, instead of RAAME's usual program, much to Robyn's chagrin but much to the audience's delight.
Just because the RAAME event is no longer about analyzing Dan's book for its literary merits doesn't mean the audience and Robyn don't get an education. In fact, the show becomes something of a sex tips seminar in which Dan helps Robyn, as well as the audience full of mostly women, to unleash her inner sex goddess.
Robyn (Sonja) doesn't know what she's in for when she sits down with author Dan (Grant) in Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man. Photo: Allison Stock
In order to do that, you can't stay in one place, so Robyn, still bespectacled but now with her hair down and clad in a skintight teal cocktail dress and a pair of cigarette heels, meets Dan at a bar in downtown Manhattan to learn how to pick up a man in the first place. This is one of the moments when Sonja really shines, showing off her prowess for physical comedy by waddling while making her best attempt at a sexy strut. This is also the moment we find out there are also men in the audience as the married man Dan asked to come up onstage starts to flirt with Robyn, who is put to the test to pick him up. The man tells Robyn, "You are sexy," so clearly, she's a fast learner. Or he just really finds waddling hot. Either way, we wonder what Rocco, Sonja's date to some get-togethers during last season of RHONY, would have to say about that.
This is just one moment where the audience becomes a part of the show. So if you do come to see Sonja in Sex Tips, it really is just like hanging out with her. Soon thereafter, the man's wife of 40 years is called onstage to disrobe Stefan and then massage his chest, and later in the show, three women, one of whom appears to be a bride-to-be wearing a white sash and lavender boa, are instructed on the proper hand job technique and then asked to demonstrate it — blindfolded. Perhaps this really would be a perfect destination for Luann's future bachelorette party, as Sonja previously suggested to The Daily Dish. The entire audience even gets in on the act as they follow Dan's instruction using their programs to the tune of Peggy Lee's "Fever," which inspires Robyn to let loose and move to the music. So fear not; you will see some of Sonja's signature "Caburlesque" moves in this show.
Sonja smooches sexy stagehand Stefan as her character Robyn in Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man. Photo: Allison Stock
Fortunately, the audience seemed warmed up by that time in the show. In the beginning, most of the spectators seemed just as shy as Robyn, with reserved laughter and nerves getting the best of them when asked to shout out suggestions for alternative names for a penis to use throughout the show ("pocket rocket" was eventually the lucky winner, in case you were wondering). Each participant seemed playfully embarrassed but ultimately appeared to be having a blast while up onstage while obeying Dan's commands. And by the end, every dirty joke or wink from Dan garnered roaring laughter.
Of course, being in a show that features so much audience participation means there can be a lot of unpredictable moments, which is something that Sonja knows a thing or two about from her many seasons on RHONY. In Sex Tips, Sonja is able to ad lib with the best of them, especially when she introduces a new chapter of the show called "You've Seen One, You Haven't Seen Them All." "Thank goodness for that," Robyn says, seemingly off the cuff, but it totally comes off as one of Sonja's classic witty retorts.
Sonja looks as sultry as ever during the curtain call at a press preview of Sex Tips for Straight Women from a Gay Man on September 27, 2016. Photo: Caitlin Migliaccio/The Daily Dish
Sonja makes Robyn's transformation from rookie to sexpert completely believable, doing a 180 from her reluctance to participate in Dan's lecture, even going so far as wanting to shut the whole thing down on a couple of occasions, and practically taking the reigns of the seminar by the end when she demos the proper way to perform a blowjob, complete with fruit and vegetable props. Sonja gets physical here (in the comedy sense, that is), coyly tearing up bananas, chopping up celery stalks, and delicately dropping green grapes into the juicer. On second thought, you probably don't want to try Robyn's method at home, but it does work to awaken her inner sex goddess, giving her the courage to finally profess her love to Stefan, give him a passionate kiss, and admit that she "wanted to rip off your clothes the minute I hired you." Then Robyn tells Stefan triumphantly, "I'm your boss, bitch," showing that she is finally in control of her sexuality.
Just like that, Robyn is a new woman. And now that she can add "conquering the New York stage" to her diverse resumé, it appears that Sonja is, too.
Photo: Allison Stock
Relive one of Sonja's most memorable stage performances, below.